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Clever use of science and technology will build industry capability and improve productivity. Enabling digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), block chain and cyber security, will also help our manufacturers to create entirely new products, processes and business models.

Australia’s science, research and innovation capabilities are critical enablers of transformation in manufacturing. There is clearly an opportunity to find ways to improve technology, processes and practices, and digital operations. These enablers support business competitiveness and have positive spill-overs across our economy.

We are focusing our industry, science and technology investments, including through the work of the CSIRO, to support our National Manufacturing Priorities. This will help our manufacturers supercharge their operations and harness emerging opportunities.

We are fostering strong collaboration between business and our world-class researchers to leverage economies of scale, knowledge transfer and innovation, so together they can find creative solutions and better leverage our bright ideas. We are encouraging businesses to invest in innovation to improve their processes and practices.

We will work closely with industry, seeking their guidance to ensure our programs and investments — some of which will be joint enterprises between government and industry — target the right activities and the right businesses to achieve success.

Our focus

  • We are aligning research and innovation capabilities and programs to support the National Manufacturing Priorities.
  • We are supporting a range of measures to encourage businesses to increase their investments in productivity-enhancing technologies. This includes $52.8 million to conduct a second round of the successful Manufacturing Modernisation Fund to back manufacturers that are planning for the future and seeking to improve their competitiveness and productivity.
  • We are providing $454.2 million to the CSIRO to ensure our world-class science, research and innovation capabilities can continue to work for industry.
  • We are working to ensure the sustainability of our research system to support our economic recovery, productivity gains and research commercialisation. Our $1 billion boost to the Research Support Program will help universities retain the research capability necessary to continue delivering world-class research and the $41.6m Strategic University Reform Fund will support universities to establish pilot initiatives designed to increase local business-research collaboration and commercialisation.
  • We are lifting the digital capability of Australia’s manufacturing business leaders through our Digital Directors Training, which will support successful digital transformation of manufacturing and improve productivity. To emphasise our focus on building the digital capability of manufacturing and other business decision-makers, we are also setting a target for 10 per cent of all Australian board directors to have a digital background by 2030.
  • We are also launching a Digital Readiness Assessment Tool to provide businesses with personalised and targeted information about how they compare to other firms in their market and connect them to a range of services to help them on their digital journey.
  • We are providing $11.4 million to fund a round of the Business Research and Innovation Initiative focused on the development of regulatory technologies, or regtech. Through this initiative we will provide critical early stage funding to innovative SMEs to develop solutions that help business to navigate and comply with regulatory requirements.
  • Through the 2020 Cyber Security Strategy we have also committed $8.3 million for the Cyber Security Connect and Protect Program, which will assist SMEs, including those in manufacturing supply chains, to uplift their cyber security capability.
  • For small businesses in particular, we are expanding the Australian Small Business Advisory Service Digital Solutions program to support a further 10,000 small businesses in 2020-21 to go digital.